November 10, 2009

Headlines
Cost of extra year’s climate inaction $500 billion: IEA
Climate deal to prevent doubling of energy bills
Climate change will harm US economy, economists say
Senate climate battle shifts onto new turf
EPA takes own step toward regulating greenhouse gases
Some utilities push Congress on carbon emissions
U.S. eyes deal with China on climate change monitoring
Copenhagen climate treaty in danger
Merkel: climate deal needed in Copenhagen
The ‘all-in’ bet for the planet
Spain’s new wind-power record
Path to good health, less pollution is the sidewalk: report
Greenpeace seeks Newsweek disclosure of API revenue
Las Vegas gambles with uncertain water future


[click on link below for articles]

News summaries
Cost of extra year’s climate inaction $500 billion: IEA

The world will have to spend an extra $500 billion to cut carbon
emissions for each year it delays implementing a major assault on
global warming, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday. At
United Nations climate talks in Barcelona last week negotiators from
developed countries said the world would need an extra six to 12 months
to agree a legally binding, global deal to cut carbon emissions beyond
a planned December deadline. Reuters
Climate deal to prevent doubling of energy bills
A climate change deal is needed not just to ward off global warming,
but to ensure a shift from increasingly costly fossil fuels that could
lead to a doubling of energy bills, the IEA’s chief economist said on
Tuesday…"The world needs to go to the 450 part per million (ppm)
target, not only because of climate change but because of growing
problems within our energy system and its possible implications again
on the economy," Birol said…"..Birol said the oil price was likely to
reach $100 per barrel by 2015 and $190 by 2030. "This means that if we
don’t do anything to our energy system, we will be in difficulty," he
said. Reuters
Climate change will harm US economy, economists say
Almost all 144 top economists surveyed for a New York University School
of Law report agree that climate change threatens the United States
economy and that carbon regulation — whether it’s a carbon tax or a
cap-and-trade system — will drive energy efficiency and innovation. The
report, Economists and Climate Change, finds that 84 percent
of the economists agreed that environmental effects of greenhouse gas emissions “
presents a clear danger” to the United States and the global economy, despite
uncertainties regarding the exact speed and severity of global warming. The study
also finds that the majority of economists (86 percent) believe the agriculture
sector will be hit the hardest, followed by fishing (71.3 percent) and
forestry (66.9 percent). Environmental Leader
Senate climate battle shifts onto new turf
The Senate climate debate shifts into a higher gear this week as
advocates look beyond the partisan gridlock that engulfed the
Environment and Public Works Committee and onto the broader quest of
finding 60 votes for floor passage. ClimateWire
EPA takes own step toward regulating greenhouse gases
Congress might be a long ways from passing legislation to fight climate
change, but the Obama administration appears one step closer to
creating its own regime for controlling greenhouse gases. On Monday,
the Environmental Protection Agency announced it has sent the White
House Office of Management and Budget its proposed finding that
greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. Adoption of the
so-called endangerment finding is the legal precursor to regulating
greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Washington Wire
Some utilities push Congress on carbon emissions
Utility executives are stepping up calls for legislation to cap
greenhouse-gas emissions, fearing that if Congress doesn’t act, the EPA
will establish rules that would be costlier and less effective. The
executives’ desire for prompt action is colliding with Washington’s
focus on other issues and growing reluctance to tamper with
power-industry costs during a weak economy….The executives said they
want legislation — and soon — because utilities need to make billions
of dollars of investments in coming years and risk bad choices in a
legislative void. The Wall Street Journal
U.S. eyes deal with China on climate change monitoring
The United States hopes to reach agreement with China during President
Barack Obama’s visit on how to record and monitor countries’ efforts to
fight global warming, a top State Department official said on Tuesday. Reuters
Copenhagen climate treaty in danger
Experts are increasingly doubtful that the Copenhagen climate-change
conference can produce a binding climate treaty, less than a month
before the U.N.-mandated meeting is due to start. The latest round of
negotiations in Barcelona last week revealed the growing frustration
over the slow progress when it comes to stopping global warming. Terra Daily
Merkel: climate deal needed in Copenhagen
Next month’s climate summit in Copenhagen must produce a substantial
agreement, and failure would set back by years efforts to fight global
warming German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday. Merkel said the
European Union has put forward a clear position on fighting climate
change, and "we now expect contributions from the U.S.A. and countries
such as China and India." AP
The ‘all-in’ bet for the planet
This is the consequence of failure at Copenhagen: A marked shift in
scientific effort from solving global warming to adapting to its
consequences, a hodge-podge of uncoordinated local efforts to trim
emissions – none of which deliver the necessary cuts – and an altered
climate. Daily Climate
Lester Brown: ‘We shouldn’t count on Copenhagen to save us’
Americans are in the process of rethinking personal transportation.
This year the number of automobiles will drop by 4 million – 14 million
scrapped and 10 million new sales – a market shrinkage. There are
tougher fuel economy standards and a shrinking fleet – so a
two-dimensional squeeze. Also, over the past couple years, the US has
seen the development of a powerful grassroots movement opposing new
coal fired power plants. It has created a de facto moratorium on new
coal-fired plants. I doubt that anyone is ever going to get a new
license for a coal fired power plant. There are now 22 slated for
closing, and many more next year. The stimulus package and other pieces
of legislation are making renewable energy technologies look more
attractive. One hundred and two new wind farms came on last year,
totalling 8,000 watts of energy – or 8 coal-fired plants. We’ve reduced
carbon emissions in the US 9 per cent in the last two years – the
larger part of that is because of the recession, but a substantial part
is energy efficiency and a shift to renewables. The Ecologist
Spain’s new wind-power record
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Spain set quite a record: The
country got more than half its electricity from wind farms, a first for
a country long invested in renewable energy… For years, one of the
knocks against wind power is that it can only provide a certain part of
a country’s electricity—25% or so—because wind power is too variable.
So Spain’s windy Sunday seems to make U.S. visions of generating 20% of
the country’s electricity from wind power sound a little less
far-fetched. Environmental Capital
Path to good health, less pollution is the sidewalk: report
Designing towns and cities to make it more appealing and safer to walk
or ride a bike would not only help fight the US obesity epidemic and
improve health but would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air
pollution, a report issued by the Surface Transportation Policy
Partnership and Transportation for America said. Currently, no state
spends more than five percent of federal transportation funds on
projects that could improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, such as
building more sidewalks or "zebra crossings," the report said.. AFP
Greenpeace seeks Newsweek disclosure of API revenue
Greenpeace is demanding that Newsweek disclose how much money it has
made selling the oil industry’s biggest lobbying group advertising
deals that included the ability to co-host energy policy forums and
seat the association’s president as a panelist beside members of
Congress. Greenwire
Las Vegas gambles with uncertain water future
Across the United States, water managers are beginning to grapple with
climate change. And it’s changing the way they think about almost
everything. For the utilities that supply the nation’s drinking water,
one of the first casualties is the idea that the conditions of the past
can predict the future. For planners who are used to taking the long
view — constructing expensive infrastructure that’s expected to last
30, 40, 50 years, or even longer — climate change is changing their
rules, introducing new and hard-to-define levels of risk. "You have to
plan decades ahead, in terms of water supply and source water needs,"
said Dan Hartnett, director of legislative affairs for the Association
of Metropolitan Water Agencies. "It’s too late if you wake up one
morning and the tap runs dry." Climate Wire